Hi, I’m Lizzie, a first-year medical student studying at the University of Lincoln. If you want to learn more about how I got into medical school, be sure to check out my first blog!

A lot has happened since I last posted, including another national lockdown! Due to the fact that all of my lectures are online anyway, it doesn’t feel that different, except for the fact that I can’t see my friends in a group anymore ☹

As I am writing this, it is currently the start of week 9 of the first term and it has flown by! The formative exam was at the end of week 6, which was an online multiple-choice test. The purpose of formative exams is to assess how well you are engaging with the content and to see how effective your current learning/revising style is- the mark doesn’t count towards your degree.  As with all of our exams, the pass mark for this one was 40%. I set myself a target percentage and I managed to exceed that, so I was happy with my result! (I really recommend turning your Wi-Fi/data off your phone to reduce your distractions while revising).

The day after the exam was Halloween and the med school had set up a baking and pumpkin carving competition. After careful deliberation (and about 2 hours shopping for ingredients-oops!) we decided to make an eyeball cake. We sculpted the eyeball by essentially making a massive semicircle shaped cake pop and while it was in the fridge we set to work on the pumpkins. I decided on making mine Harry Potter themed, with the lightning blot scar and glasses (which was actually harder than I thought it would be!). Once we had carved our pumpkins, we decorated the cake. We have just found out that our entry won the competition, and the prize is a £50 Morrison’s voucher to split between all of us.

Because our exam in week 6 only covered content up to week 5, I let myself get a little bit behind in order to do as much revision as possible (because we also had an assignment due that week as well). I finally got around to finishing the week 6 work a few days ago (end of week 8) and it acted as a bit of a revision exercise as I hadn’t looked at the Muscle topic in a while.

This week is very empty, with only 7 hours of teaching timetabled but it means that I will be able to have a rest and go over some of the past few weeks’ content. I have just been appointed as a Course Representative for year 1, alongside another first year med student, which is exciting! I have been sent the training modules to do, which will help fill up my timetable! This week the med school have also put on a virtual friend speed dating event to try and help us make friends from our cohort as we only see the same 5/6 people in our face to face sessions. Hopefully this won’t be as awkward as it sounds!

One reason why the timetable isn’t so full this week is because our hospital visits have been cancelled due to Covid-19. It was disappointing to hear that we wouldn’t be able to go as it would have been a great experience, but I understand why this action had to be taken.

Last week we had our clinical skills session on patient assessment. As it was face to face, safety precautions such as masks, visors, aprons, and gloves had to be worn at all times. We learnt about and used the NEWS (National Early Warning Score) chart to record observations that we took including temperature and pulse rate. Measuring blood pressure manually with a cuff and a stethoscope was hard, as it was difficult to hear the Korotkoff sounds the first few times. However,  on my last try I was able to do it 😊 My partner for the session was a student midwife and she was really good at taking blood pressure so was able to help me a lot with my technique.  She also recommended I buy a sphygmomanometer on Amazon, to practice it at home.

At the end of the session we collected our scrubs and trying them on was honestly a highlight of my week! My medicine flatmates and I couldn’t resist having a mini photoshoot in our scrubs! I’ve also ordered a Littmann Classic III stethoscope which will hopefully last my whole career (as long as I don’t lose it!).

Hope you have enjoyed finding out more about my past few weeks at med school, stay tuned for the next blog!